NEPA Scene Staff

Clarence Spady pays tribute to Scranton roots with new ‘Electric City Band’ branding

Clarence Spady pays tribute to Scranton roots with new ‘Electric City Band’ branding
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From a press release:

Clarence Spady has long represented his hometown of Scranton as an acclaimed, internationally renowned blues musician. His recent signing to Nola Blue Records and plans for a new album in 2021 show a renewed focus on his musical legacy as an ambassador of Scranton.

At the same time, Scranton has been the subject of heightened awareness at a pivotal time in American democracy. Birthplace of President-elect Joe Biden, Scranton, Pennsylvania is a city of both historical and cultural significance. Known as the “Electric City” to commemorate being one of the first electrified cities in the United States and home of the first fully electric-powered streetcar, the city sign illuminates the Scranton skyline at night with beaming pride.

In addition to Spady, his longtime band members are also of great musical accomplishment and pride for Scranton. Bassist Jon Ventre is a second-generation musician and son of Bob Ventre, professional jazz guitarist and past member of the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. Drummer Pat Marcinko is a third-generation Scranton drummer and son of Pat Marcinko, Jr., the longtime music director at Scranton Central High School. Keyboardist Bob O’Connell was instrumental in helping the 1970s Scranton-based rock band The Buoys get their national recording contract, in addition to having his own European hit song, “Stoplight.”

Scranton heritage and pride shines through in every electrifying recording and performance by the Clarence Spady Band. Therefore, to embrace and honor that legacy, the band will now be proudly billed as Clarence Spady and the Electric City Band, and their new band logo is inspired by the city’s iconic Electric City sign.

“As a Scranton native myself and former owner of the Blues Street Nightclub, I can say with confidence that there are no better musical ambassadors of our great city than Clarence Spady and the Electric City Band,” said Scott Goldman, president of Bluescope Music and Spady’s manager.

Spady’s new single, “Surrender,” has been receiving worldwide airplay and acclaim since its release last month. His next single will be released on Friday, Dec. 11, followed by a full album next year on Nola Blue Records in Lancaster. Music heals, inspires, and unites. Clarence Spady and the Electric City Band look forward to sharing goodwill and great new music in 2021.

“Surrender” is the debut single from Spady’s first album in 12 years. Not one to hide from the mistakes of his past, nor to let his guard down long enough for those demons to return, he was inspired to write “Surrender” after one of his daily recovery group meetings held at a local church. The theme that morning was surrender. At the conclusion of the meeting, he sat down at the piano and the initial seeds were planted.

The song was recorded at Red Rock Recording Studio in Saylorsburg and engineered, mixed, and mastered by Kent Heckman. Music journalist Bill Dahl wrote, “With the release of the emotionally charged ‘Surrender,’ Clarence Spady reclaims his place as one of the fieriest and most intense blues guitarists and vocalists of his generation.”

A longtime fixture of the Northeast music scene, the singer, songwriter, and guitarist has been a regular performer at Greenwich Village’s iconic Terra Blues club, where he has been captivating travelers from all over the world with his guitar virtuosity and magnetic stage presence for nearly 30 years.

Born Clarence Sloan Spady on July 1, 1961 in Paterson, New Jersey, he is known to play with depth and sensitivity, effortlessly combining blues, jazz, funk, Latin, and rock into his own unique style. His moving guitar play, rough street-edged vocals, songwriting, and live improvisations are demonstrated with every performance.

Spady was nominated for Best New Artist Debut in the 1997 W.C. Handy Awards following his debut release, “Nature of the Beast” (Evidence Records, 1996). His sophomore release, “Just Between Us” (Severn Records, 2008), garnered a Blues Music Award nomination for Soul Blues Album of the Year. He has performed internationally in support of both albums and plans to resume touring as soon as restrictions are lifted.

At 59 years old, Spady has quite literally spent his lifetime performing, ever since his debut at the local Elks Club at age five, when he played “High Heeled Sneakers” with his uncle’s R&B band. Named one of Living Blues magazine’s “Top 40 Guitarists Under 40” in 1996, his bright future was derailed by ongoing struggles with substance abuse and addiction that plagued him for many years. Now, with the wisdom that only hindsight can bring, Spady shines brightly from a solid place of physical, emotional, and spiritual strength, committed to recapturing his musical trajectory and reaching new heights.

For label president Sallie Bengtson, it is an exciting time to be working with Spady.

“Clarence has the kind of soulful intensity that can’t be taught, but only acquired through a combination of his God-given talents and life experiences. Nurturing and inspiring that creative force is already yielding exciting results, and we have only begun to scratch the surface. I’m eager to reintroduce this incredible talent to the worldwide blues community in the months ahead.”

Goldman, who has managed Spady’s career since 1991, said, “From fourth grade when I first heard Clarence perform to today as we embark on an exciting new partnership with Nola Blue Records, I’m proud of Clarence for his resilience in the face of many obstacles. We are both so excited for this opportunity to share his transcendent musical ability with the world.”

See NEPA Scene’s photos of the Clarence Spady Band performing at the 2019 Briggs Farm Blues Festival here.

Photo by Robb Malloy and Tammy Heid-Malloy/Moon’s Eye Media/NEPA Scene